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 20 gauge Rem. 870 Youth Shotgun
Corey  [Team Member]
3/25/2003 7:09:56 PM EDT
Last week I was at the gun shop and saw a Remington 870 Youth shotgun. I was really impressed with it as a compact, light shotgun. I particularly liked the short buttstock and imagined what it would feel like with an 18" bbl (if it is >26", the minimum length of a shotgun in WI).

I don't have much (if any) experience with shotguns, so I've always found the standard 18" bbl 12 gauge to be long and cumbersome. (I have 15 or so years experience with M16's/AR15's, so I come from a rifle background, not shotgun.) I have fired and can handle a full power 12 gauge. But I also have my wife to consider. I don't think that she would like the 12 gauge at all. At this point any home defense firearms would need to be workable for her as well.

So, I put potential my wife using the shotgun into the mix, and I really liked that handy little 20 gauge shotgun. It's sole use would be <15 yards home defense use to supplement the AR15's (no, I don't want to start that "versus" debate here, thank you , needless to say I'm happy with my AR's and am considering picking up a shotgun).

My questions are as follows:

1. What is the effectiveness of 20 gauge (presuming optimum load) shotguns for home defense, and what is that optimum load?

2. Would I be better off with an 18" or 21" (standard) bbl length?

3. Would you recommend this shotgun for home defense or not? Why?

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Muad_Dib  [Team Member]
3/25/2003 7:45:37 PM EDT
For a few years now, my father has kept a 20 guage Mossberg shotgun on his boat for self defense. He has a pistol grip only (no shoulder stock) and it is extremely manageable. If you can shoot a .45 pistol with one hand, you can shoot a 20 guage pistol grip shotgun with one hand with no problems. Just remember to cycle the slide with your other hand. [:)] As to the effectiveness.... I don't know for sure. 20 guage is a pretty common shot for upland game hunting, but I don't know how it would fare against a two legged critter. My father chose this particular shot based solely on the notion that it would be less likely to blast a gigantic hole in the hull of his boat if he had to use it.
tooly  [Member]
3/26/2003 5:56:15 AM EDT
Try a 410 mossberg!!!
Corey  [Team Member]
3/26/2003 6:31:59 AM EDT
I like the Mossy safety better than the Rem. Check this out: [url][/url] Anyone have any info on 20 gauge ammo and it's effectiveness for home defense? (Issues such as penetration, best ammo, etc.) TIA
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mcsd2598  [Member]
3/26/2003 7:10:35 AM EDT
I personally think 20ga is very under-rated much like the whole 223 vs 308 debate. I would love to see more 20ga tactical type ammo. If you can kill a deer with 20ga you can kill 2 legged critters with it. Ammo selection is key. If you search you can find #4, 0, 00, and 000. I have only been able to find it in 3" magnum though. You just have to search high and low to find anything. To keep the wife shooting just use light field loads for practice\training. Keep her shooting. When\if you have to use it for HD no one will remember the recoil, adrenaline is a wonderful thing. I'd also base barrel length on her stature and how often she likes to shoot. Shorter barrel will recoil nore but easier to corner. Just opposite for longer barrel.
mcsd2598  [Member]
3/26/2003 7:12:16 AM EDT
Also just remembered that the youth shotguns have a different (slimmer) reciever I think, so accesories and possibly barrels might be harder to find.
Corey  [Team Member]
3/26/2003 9:54:26 AM EDT
I did a bit of research and answered my questions regarding the ammo choice:
20 Gauge Shotshell Ammunition Recommendations We're unaware of any ammunition company who offers a 20 gauge shotshell that is loaded with #1 buckshot. The largest shot size commercially available that we know of is number 2 buck. From a strict wound ballistics standpoint, we feel the Federal Classic 3-inch 20 gauge Magnum number 2 buckshot cartridge is the best choice. It contains 18 pellets of number 2 buckshot in a plastic shotcup with granulated plastic shot buffer. However, the Federal Classic load might produce too much recoil for some people. Given this consideration, Remington's Premier Buckshot 2 ¾-inch 20 gauge number 3 buckshot cartridge is the next best choice. This load contains 20 pieces of nickel-plated, hardened lead shot that is buffered to reduce pellet deformation from post ignition acceleration and terminal impact. The Remington buckshot load will probably produce the tightest shot patterns in 20 gauge shotguns. Third place is Winchester's 3-inch 20 gauge Magnum number 3 buckshot cartridge, which contains 24 pieces of buffered, copper-plated, hardened lead shot. .... Summary With the right load, a shotgun can be very effective in quickly stopping the deadly violence being perpetrated by a criminal who's invaded your home. If you're worried that a missed shot might penetrate through a wall and harm others, load your shotgun so that the first one or two cartridges to be fired is number 6 or smaller birdshot, followed by standard lead #1 buckshot (12 gauge) or #3 buckshot (20 gauge). If your first shot misses, the birdshot is less likely to endanger innocent lives outside the room. If your first shot fails to stop the attacker, you can immediately follow-up with more potent ammunition. With birdshot you are wise to keep in mind that your gunfire has the potential to NOT PRODUCE an effective wound. Do not expect birdshot to have any decisive effect. Number 1 buckshot has the potential to produce more effective wound trauma than either #00 or #000 buck, without the accompanying risk of over-penetration. The IWBA believes, with very good reason, that number 1 buckshot is the shotshell load of choice for quickly stopping deadly criminal violence. End Notes The term "Magnum" when applied to shotshells means "more shot." Magnum shotshells usually propel their pellets at a lower velocity than a standard shotshell. Shotgun barrel length does not affect our shotshell recommendions.
[url][/url] (As cited by Troy in [url][/url].) So I guess the impression that I'm getting from some of the responses here is that 20 gauges are effective home defense shotguns. A little youth model 20 gauge with the bbl cut to 18" would be ideal. Very light and handy. I might have to put one on my "to do" list. Thanks for the input.
IMHO  [Member]
3/26/2003 5:56:37 PM EDT
Originally Posted By mcsd2598: Also just remembered that the youth shotguns have a different (slimmer) reciever I think, so accesories and possibly barrels might be harder to find.
mcsd2598, I'm not sure that this applies to the 870's. Something may have changed recently, but I've always worked under the impression that the bbls can be swapped all around, and that an "upgrade" to an adult stock is quite easy in most cases. Again, I'm not sure, but I think that this is the reason why the "youth" models offered by Remington are so appealing to dads. IMHO
GunSlingAR  [Member]
3/27/2003 9:16:52 AM EDT
The only difference between the "Youth" model, and the regular one is the shortened buttstock. Change that, and you have a regular Remington 870 Express.
Corey  [Team Member]
3/27/2003 7:35:32 PM EDT
Originally Posted By GunSlingAR: The only difference between the "Youth" model, and the regular one is the shortened buttstock. Change that, and you have a regular Remington 870 Express.
As I understand it the same applies to the Mossberg 500 youth shotgun. EDITED to add that I want one of the Mossy's! [:D]
tooly  [Member]
3/28/2003 3:19:49 AM EDT
The 870 youth model is the same as the (H.D) model...
mike103  [Team Member]
3/28/2003 11:38:21 AM EDT
Corey, The only difference between a 20 gauge 870 Express youth and a standard 20 gauge 870 Express is the length of the barrel and stock. A full size stock will fit and you can use any 20 gauge 870 barrel on the youth model. The Mossberg is different. Not only is the barrel and stock shorter but the model 500 Bantam (that's what Mossberg calls their youth model) has what they call a eazy reach forearm. The forearm is longer and further back towards the reciever. The pistol grip is also closer to the trigger guard. The Mossberg is a true youth gun. As for ammo both the Federal and Winchester 3" mags are available but the Remington copper plated premier is no longer made. Remington does offer 2 3/4" #3 buck in their Express line, lead, no copper plate. I would go with a 20 gauge 3" mag turkey load in #2 or #4 bird shot for the first shot followed up by buck and a slug for my last shot. That should get his attention! If you have more shotgun questions stop over at the Shotgun board in the Armory. Lots of good guys there. MIKE.
Corey  [Team Member]
3/29/2003 6:23:00 AM EDT
Thanks Mike! Great info. I'll try to pop over to that forum and check it out. Corey
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